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I’m constantly trying new things, but I only review stuff that I actually use. That should help keep the clutter down and keep you focused on the best stuff out there. I hope these reviews are of benefit to you in your lifelong adventure of photographic fortune and glory.
Photo Software Reviews
Five pieces of software you should have
- Photomatix Review – the software I use most for the “look” of my photos
- SmugMug Review – how I share my photos online… I think SmugMug is the best
- OnOne Software Review – a robust suite of products and great tools you should know
- Topaz Adjust Review – an amazing plugin to give very nice effects
- Nik Software Review – a wide variety of post-processing filter options that are fun!
Additional Software you may find helpful
- Animoto Review – a fun and stylish way to make online videos. So easy!
- Lucis Pro Review – wonderful for adding sharp detail and pop
- Macphun Review – fast, fun, and powerful post-processing tools for Macs
- Nik Color Efex Pro Review – great tool for color correction, retouching and creative effects
- Nik Sharpener Pro Review – I find the sharpening to be a grade better than what is in Photoshop by default.
- Nik Silver Efex Pro Review – black and white filters sound kinda boring, yes? No – check this out!
- Nik Viveza 2 Review – lets you change one part of a photo without changing another part
- Noiseware Review – great for reducing the “noise” in photos
- Magic Bullet Looks Review – I’m amazed at how much a simple filter can add to a video
- PhotoLooks Review – cool tool for giving your images some “pop”
- Photoshop Review – a nice review of Adobe Photoshop and why you need it!
- Portraiture Review – used for making people and portraits look amazing
- Topaz Detail Review – another winner from Topaz
- Topaz InFocus Review – another winner from Topaz
Photo Software Coupon Codes
I also have a complete list of the best coupon codes for photo editing software.
Camera Equipment Reviews
Below is a list of cameras I recommend that should work for any skill level or budget. In addition, I have a more complete list of Camera Lens Reviews that covers all the lenses I use for my photography.
Good Camera: Sony a5000
Priced at under $500, this Sony mirrorless camera is highly recommended if your budget is keeping you at below the $500 level.
If budget is not a concern, I suggest you jump down to the “Better” or “Best” recommendations. However, if budget is your principle concern, then no worries this Sony is the way to go! One great thing about it is that all the lenses that you get for this camera can also be used when if you decide down the road to upgrade to the Sony a7R below.
Better Camera: Sony a6000
Starting at below $800 which includes an 16-50mm lens.
The Sony a6000 is the replacement for the Sony NEX-7 which I loved. The a6000 has a number of advantages over the lower-priced a5000. It has a built-in electronic viewfinder, 2x higher screen resolution, 7x the number of focal points, 24MP compared to 19MP, and more than 3x faster continuous shooting (11 fps vs 3.5 fps).
Best Camera: Sony a7R
Starting at just over $2000
A full-on Sony a7R Review is here on the site that is full of a ton of sample photos. This is currently my main camera. I absolutely love it. It has all the power of the giant DSLR systems at a fraction of the price and size. It’s Full-Frame goodness combined with a small mirrorless form factor gives you everything you need. Plus, the camera smarts inside are absolutely insane. Check on the review there to see even more!
First Three Lenses for the Sony a7R
Note these work for all the Sony A7 cameras!
- Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great mid-range lens the covers wide to mid-range zooming. See more on the Sony 24-70mm Review.
- Sony 10-18 f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great lens that gives you maximum wide-angle flexibility for landscapes and architecture. Even though this lens is made for the small Alpha line, it works fine on the A7 series of cameras and is still full frame. Instead of 10-18mm, you’ll get full coverage from 12mm to 17mm. To find out more, read my full Sony 10-18mm Lens Review.
- Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 Prime (Amazon | B&H Photo) – In short, a great for portraits and objects of things
Other Goodies for the Sony a7R
- Sony Alpha Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – So that you can attach the other Sony full-frame Alpha lenses to your Sony a7R
- Novoflex Leica Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – Fantastic for attaching any lens that uses the Leica lens mount.
- Nikon F Lens Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Nikon DSLR lenses
- Canon EF Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Canon DSLR lenses
Sony Alpha – Two Great Lenses
If you are just getting started and want recommendations on your first few lenses, here they are. Often times a camera will come with a “kit lens” that is pretty versatile and can get you a long way. The Sony a5000 and a6000 comes with a 16-50mm lens that produces great pictures. But there are many lenses that are better for more specialized situations.
- Sony 55-210mm (Amazon | B&H Photo) – This lens is a little big but its versatility is perfect for mid-range stuff like landscapes, birthdays, sports, etc.
- Sony 10-18 F/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great lens that gives you maximum wide-angle flexibility for landscapes and architecture. To find out more, read my full Sony 10-18mm Lens Review.
Nikon – First Three Lenses
Following are the first three lenses I would recommend getting if you bought a professional Nikon camera.
- Nikon 14-24 Review – A great wide-angle lens for landscapes and architecture
- Nikon 28-300 Review – Perfect walk-around lens mid-range stuff like landscapes, birthdays, sports, etc.
- Nikon 50mm Review – Ideal for cute children, family and close-up objects where you like a blurry background
I only write reviews for lenses that I use and recommend. Here is a complete list of camera lens reviews.
DJI Phantom Vision Quadcopter
I recently got a quadcopter and I LOVE it! You can get amazing photos and videos from previously unattainable perspectives. I have the DJI Phantom 2 with Zenmuse H3-3d 3-axis Gimbal and Gopro Hero 3+ Black Edition.
I set mine up so it records HD video and also takes a photo every five seconds. Check out my full review of the DJI Phantom 2 with a behind the scenes bonus video.
What’s in my photo bag?
Tripod and Head
My best advice for tripods is to visit your local camera store and try them out! Find one that you find easy to use… I’ve tried many, and my recommendations are below. A tripod is composed of two parts – the Legs and the Head. The head simply attaches to the legs, and these have universal connections.
- RRS Tripod (link) – And here is the tripod.
- RRS Head (Small) (link) – This is the Really Right Stuff tripod head I use. It doesn’t have to be too big because the camera is small.
- RRS Head (Big) (link) – This is the ballhead I used with my much bigger DSLR systems. It’s highly recommended if you use hefty DSLRs!
- L-Plates for your camera (link) – These allow your camera to attach to the tripod head. These “L” plates are of the variety that enables you to easily adjust it from landscape to portrait orientation.
Entry Level Tripod and Head
- Manfrotto 190XB 3 Section Aluminum Tripod – An excellent set of legs for most small to medium-sized cameras such as the Sony mentioned above. It supports 11 pounds, so you have room to grow.
- Giottos MH-1000 Large Ball Head w/ Built-in Quick Release – A simple and easy to use quick-release head that you will enjoy.
- Aweber Review – Email software that we use for our newsletter
- ColorMunki Review – Helps to accurately calibrate the color of your monitors
- Hoodman Review – Compact flash cards and other photography gadgets
- HyperMac Review – Awesome external battery for Macs
- MagCloud Review – Easily create print and digital books
- RackSpace Review – This website and all of our others are hosted by Rackspace
- Syrp Genie Review – a beautiful little device for time laps photography that automatically turns, pivots, and slides while taking the photo for you
- Woopra Review – Great website analytics tools
Any questions about the nature of these reviews? Please visit my Ethics Statement. It’s all quite simple!